Braumeister Brewing Company, a Carleton Place brewery that launched around three years ago, has just opened a new location in Ottawa’s Hintonburg neighbourhood. This latest addition to the Braumeister roster offers an authentic European beer hall experience.
The idea for the beer hall arose from owner Rohit Gupta’s stint teaching at an international school in Salzburg, Austria, where he immediately fell in love with the cultural aspects of beer. During a visit from his father, Gupta said they were both “blown away by this one Biergarten that had the capacity to seat hundreds. People of all ages and backgrounds were there, enjoying the single style of beer that they produced. The beer was among the best in the world, but was almost secondary to the experience.”
It was at this point that they decided to bring that experience to the Ottawa region, where Gupta grew up. He and his father subsequently opened their Carleton Place location, a “local and affordable family-friendly beer hall that serves delicious European cuisine and traditional styles of beer.”
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While most Ottawa-area breweries have a more North American focus, Braumeister is focused on European beers. Gupta recalls a number of early customers asking for IPAs, but he was eager to showcase different types of beer not typically found in Ottawa. This, he says, has allowed the brewery to truly stand out.
“Traditional European styles are our identity,” says Gupta. “We tend to have more malt-forward beers with subtle hoppiness and only use four ingredients (water, yeast, hops, malt). We don’t add flavouring or additives to any of our beers, we naturally carbonate our beers, and we are focused on trying to make the best beer we possibly can.”
Braumeister had been trying to open their Ottawa location for almost a year, with restrictions and lockdowns creating constant delays. Not to mention that operating a business focused on openness and social interaction in the midst of a pandemic with strict social distancing guidelines poses many challenges. Braumeister was initially set up with shared tables to encourage a sense of community, but the model had to be changed to small tables for individual groups.
However, Gupta says he’s very optimistic about things returning back to normal in the near future, as more and more things open back up and vaccination rates rise. Since many of their customers are starting to feel comfortable returning to a more communal structure, Braumeister is working on moving back to large, shared tables, but plans to also keep small tables for those not yet ready or comfortable larger gatherings.
Gupta has made minimal changes to his formula for the Ottawa location. The focus remains on comfort and community while providing the best possible beer. The key differences, however, are the new location’s much bigger size (with a patio among the largest in the city) and a full kitchen serving authentic European cuisine.
Going forward, Gupta hopes Braumeister will become well-established in the Ottawa region and grow further by eventually distributing their beer throughout Ontario via LCBOs, wholesale, and grocery stores. Currently, he is focusing on “bringing the taste of Europe back home—to either introduce it to someone who may have never tried it, or to rekindle some memories for those who experienced similar environments in a European setting.”
The Ottawa location of Braumeister Bierhalle is now open at 175 Carruthers Ave in Hintonburg.